“Mom, I want to be the best violinist, and I want a teacher to really push me to help me get there.” These were the words of my little blonde-haired, blue-eyed 8 year old daughter during dinner one night. Wondering if she was really serious, I explained how much work it would take and what she would need to give up to obtain this goal. Yet at the end of the conversation she was still convinced.
She didn’t know I already had a nudge in my spirit that we needed to seriously pursue her violin playing. Earlier that week I felt the Holy Spirit give me a warning unlike any other I have ever had. He told me “I have given her (my daughter) a gift, and it is your job to shepherd it until she is old enough to shepherd it herself. You will also be held accountable for what you do with it”.
As my daughter and I sat and talked, I wasn’t really surprised at what she was telling me. I immediately knew she was right and was thankful her heart was being led by the Holy Spirit. Later that week the Lord opened the doors for my daughter’s words to become a reality.
Through an amazing set of events we began lessons at a music conservatory 2 1/2 hours away. However, the lessons did not come without sacrifice. We had to withdraw from an incredible homeschool tutorial in our hometown to focus on lessons and the increased practice time that came along with it. There were a lot of days I said, “What in the world am I doing? I am putting a lot of pressure on my daughter. I am removing her from her friends at school just so she can play the violin.” Yet the warning I had received from the Lord kept me moving forward.
We continued the long drive for several years. As her siblings became old enough to begin lessons, they came along too. Before we knew it, we were driving 2 1/2 hours one-way, 2 days a week.
As time has passed since that conversation with my daughter, I have realized a few things.
It isn’t just her talent for which I will stand accountable. I am responsible for shepherding the talents of all my children. Not only must I shepherd their musical talents, but I must also help guide every unique gift the Lord has given to them.
One of my sons loves to think of ways to make money; while one of my daughters loves to write. Another son loves to take 50 Star Wars figures and create elaborate scenes. Each child is unique. Each one is different in their gifts. However, each special talent or bent has been given by God for a special purpose.
I truly believe when I stand before the Lord one day (as we all will), I won’t be asked if I had provided my children with the latest style of tennis shoes every season. It won’t matter if my children had the best birthday parties or a great car when they turned 16. However, I will be asked what I did to shepherd the gifts instilled in them by the Creator.
If you have children at home, you are raising the next generation of bankers, store owners, judges, musicians, screen writers, actors, doctors, nurses, etc. This world needs a generation of young adults who are highly-skilled, expertly-trained in their field and are also deeply rooted in biblical truth. We need a generation that is able to stand up under pressure and do the right thing. The world needs: creative writers to provide fiction worth reading, movie producers on the cutting edge providing quality entertainment for the family, athletes at the highest level who aren’t ashamed to live a holy lifestyle, and musicians who can pierce the darkness and bring messages of light and hope.
How does that happen? It happens when parents become serious about shepherding the gifts their children have been given. Just as the ultimate Good Shepherd laid down His life for his sheep, we too are to die to ourselves so that our children can be who they were created to be.
I pray one day my children are given the opportunity to stand before the elite of this world, not for their own glory, but for the glory of their Creator. I pray that they can show the world the beauty of the Lord and a life that is surrendered to Him.
Proverbs 22:29 tells us “Do you see a man skillful in his work?
He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men.“
I want to encourage you to pray and ask God what gifts your children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews have been given and how can you begin shepherding those gifts. If you are a teacher, leader, or coach set the standards high for those you lead. Expect great things from them. I am convinced that children are far more capable than most people think. When shepherded gifts are combined with the leading of the Holy Spirit, great things can be accomplished for the kingdom of God.
(Photo Credit – MiKalla Cotton)